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Spice up your life
Last updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ask anyone what they associate with the festive holiday season and chances are that delicious food, spending time with loved ones and enjoying a well-deserved break will top the list.

Spices like cinnamon and cloves are found in many traditional festive foods, reflecting the tastes and smells of Christmas like no other. Take, for example, mince pies laced with aromatic nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, and chewy ginger biscuits packed with cloves, cinnamon and cardamom... Yum!

While you’re indulging, isn’t it great to know that these spices don’t only make foods more flavourful, but also enhance the festive cheer with their many health benefits? All the more reason, we think, to include them in the foods you’ll be eating over the holidays.

Here’s what some of your favourite festive spices do for you:

The sweet, spicy taste of cinnamon is great for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Why it’s good for you: The antioxidants in cinnamon have been linked to reduced inflammation and better immunity. Importantly, research shows that it may help stabilise blood-sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Plus, it’s the ultimate “warming” comfort spice – perfect for cold winter days.

Enjoy it like this: Sprinkle cinnamon instead of sugar on cereal, porridge, toast and yoghurt, or add some to warm milk, herbal tea and smoothies. It’s also great in mince pies, Christmas pudding, biscuits, or added to couscous, wheat or barley salads. Make a soothing tea by simmering three or four cinnamon sticks in two cups of water and sweetening it with a drop of honey.

Like cinnamon, ginger can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, as its woody, zingy taste adds a refreshing tang.

Why it’s good for you: With a medicinal history dating back to the 160 ... Read more


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